Collage : Nick D for SPITGAN Magazine
Translation : Jose Chu for SPITGAN Magazine

One of the freshest collections to come from Hong Kong in recent times is the unexpected collaboration between accessories brand, Frequent Flyer, and KA WA KEY. The collection of six pieces is a stylish combination of imagination and function.

At first glance, the bags are typical of KA WA KEY's ouvre. Who else to put a cowskin pattern on a bag? Fun fur? Yeah no doubt. When it gets to the nuts and bolts though, the genius of Frequent Flyer comes through. Sturdy zips, functional pockets, and stash spots, all with robust makings.

We had to get to the bottom of this brilliant marriage of worlds. Here what the chief conspirators had to say. Mr. Patrick So, Creative Director of Frequent Flyer, and Jarno Leppanen and Key Chow of KA WA KEY, in first person below.

本地設計聽得多,但設計師品牌你又識幾多?今次要介紹的兩個本地品牌一個主打實用性;一個主打藝術性。包袋品牌Frequent Flyer以實用性旅行用包箱為主,他們的旅行包就像百寶袋一樣,再多東西都放得入。而時裝品牌KA WA KEY則在時裝舞台上發光發亮,什至創出自已的布料。不知道當兩個截然不同的品牌走在一起會產生什麼效果?看看Frequent Flyer的Patrick和KWKEY的Key之間的對話吧!

<< 中文譯本在英文之後 >>

SPITGAN : Hey Patrick, tell us about Frequent Flyer.
PATRICK SO :  Frequent Flyer is the name of people with a modern lifestyle. Active travelers willing to explore the world with their senses. Frequent Flyer is dedicated to the design and development of thoughtful products to accompany you on each journey. 

SP : Tell us how you were able to register such a great name for a travel bag brand like Frequent Flyer? 
PS : We created the brand, thinking of a golden era, when the Kai Tak Airport was still in operation. Kai Tak’s reputation was world famous, as all the pilots would have to be super-focused with nerves of steel to land at that airport. Planes nearly touched the buildings before hitting the runway! Great memories, and amazing moments. It required great skill and technique. It was very exciting! I think many kids have a dream to be a pilot, or work in the air. Being in the travel goods industry, we are very lucky get this brand registered as our brand.

SP : Apart from most HK brands, you proudly proclaim to be from HK. Do you think there is a stigma for brands to say they from Hong Kong? 
PS : Yes totally, we are so proud of Hong Kong. From a small fishing village to a global financial and economic centre, HongKongers fight against all difficulties with limited resources. We work so hard in the pursuit of a happy life. There will always be a “taking-off after landing” motto in us; encouraging all the people, including me.

See the full collection on French Vogue : Frequent Flyer X KA WA KEY

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SP : Tell us about working with KWKEY? Was it your first fashion collaboration? 
PS :  KA WA KEY is the first fashion collaboration with Frequent Flyer. Our friend Nick D lined up both parties. KA WA KEY is very strong in the garment field and we specialize in the bag industry. Also, one of their founders is from Hong Kong. The collaboration was smooth and quick. Both parties understood what was needed. We completely trusted each other. So here is the collection we worked out together. It's great!

SP : We noticed some sharp looking bags in your latest collection. Can you talk a bit about that? 
KWK : We collaborated with Frequent Flyer, amazing Hong Kong based bag brand and created an inclusive collection of dive bags. These bags are designed exclusively for Frequent Flyer and they feature some interesting fabric choices and print designs. We wanted to have the same vibe for this collaboration as for our AW19 collection. All the collaboration bags were designed with the same inspirations. For the bags we used some eco fur to create soft, fluffy and cute bags and some of our original hand painted prints.

SP : Then tell us about your FW19 collection. What were you inspired by this season? 
KWK : Our AW19 season is call “Cowboy Who Cried Wasabi Tears”. Haha, sound interesting? Or perhaps a bit weird? This collection is sensual and imaginative, a KA WA KEY interpretation of cowboy wear and western wear. The idea is based on our International Woolmark Prize, semifinal capsule collection. We like to play with sensuality and erotic ideas, and implement these in our designs.

SP : Tell us about the FF styles you worked with. Things we do not see through photo representation. Are they quite robust? Functional? 
KWK : All the bag are super good quality and functional. They’ve been tested by us (haha)! All the bags are very practical for us as we travel a lot and as the size range varies from cute small bags, rucksacks to cabin bags, there is a bag for every occasion, and of course they look good and interesting. They also have interesting features as some of the bags fold off to a suit bag, where you can pack you suit and other smart essentials, then fold it back to a bag, super handy!

SP : As you travel often yourselves, what are the essentials that you must bring with? 
KWK : The essential are: toothbrush, passport, wallet, phone, computer and clean undies (haha). Everything else is extra. But of course some versatile clothing you can wear in several different kinds of situations.

SP : Patrick will you continue to pursue collaborations in the near future? Who would be some people you would like to collaborate with?
PS : Yes, definitely. Frequent Flyer encourages people connections and culture exchange. People can learn from our products not only about the workmanship or the design, but also the brand stories behind them. The culture exchange from different countries and backgrounds is always interesting and meaningful. We believe different kinds of collaboration will have different chemistries, so we are excited for any new opportunities. However, if we were to choose one to collaborate with, I think a vintage brand would be interesting. Something that gives people a feel of time travel.

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SP : What are the essentials a good travel bag should have? 
KWK : Practicality, durability and the looks! All our collaboration bags have these features, so from now on we are going to travel in KA WA KEY x Frequent Flyer style! We have room for all the essentials and more.

SP : We notice the masks have come off. Is this a sign of self-confidence now? A move to an identification of Ka Wa Key individuality? 
KWK : Haha, the masks might return. Not sure if they’ve ever been a sign of self-confidence or lack of it? There is always something very interesting and sensual when certain bits of the human body are not shown. The same applies in stories, it leaves freedom to us to imagine what underneath might be or what might happen. Then again it’s a shame to hide the beautiful faces of the models. However we will always be friend of face masks (lol) and mystery.

SP : If streetwear was not such a popular style currently would your collections continue to take influence from them? 
KWK : I think yes, as we base our designs on our own experiences, which are based on every day life. Streetwear is everywhere. In the streets of every city whether trend or not. Music, films, theater, different subcultures, sports and even the way we speak has been affected by “street cultures”. 

SP : What Hip Hop artists have worn your clothes?
KWK : Lil Yachty, Ghetts, and GASHi a few to mention.

SP : What makes HK a city to be proud of? 
PS : I think the wisdom and optimism that people have, the city never stops changing. You can feel it, how dynamic it is! Sometimes it sad because of some political issues, but you can feel the city continues to keep reforming and growing. Just like kids growing from errors and learning, which I’m so proud of.

SP : Give us a hint of what to expect from you guys in the near future?
PS :  On the business side, we will expand our global sales network. Product-wise we will open up a new segment for shoes. But we always will launch our newest products in Hong Kong!

KWK : We are going to head back to New York for the NYFW Men’s in June to present our SS20 collection and we are super excited. SO everyone in NYC come and see our presentation! After NYC we are heading back to London and then to Paris. Design-wise we are going to present some KA WA KEY sensuality and soft masculinity everywhere! 

<< 中文譯本在下面 >>

Collage image of Frequent Flyer X KA WA KEY bags 2

SPITGAN : Patrick,你先介紹一下Frequent Flyer是什麼吧。
PATRICK SO:Frequent Flyer意指崇尚品味生活的人,他們熱愛用感官探索世界。 我們致力於設計和開發周邊旅遊產品,我們希望Frequent Flyer的產品能陪伴著您探索人生每一段旅途。

SP : 當初是怎麼想到Frequent Flyer這麼好的名字?
PS:當我們創立品牌時,想起香港的黃金時代,這是我們很美好的回憶。當時啟德機場仍在營運,猷記得啟德聞名世界的原因是因為所有的飛行員都必須高度集中才能降落到這個機場,在降落跑道之前,飛機幾乎觸及到附近的建築物,飛行員需要有很高的技術才能安全降落,每次當我想起這一幕也讓我心中非常激動!我想很多小孩因著這個原因而夢想成為一名飛行員或在從事航空工作。我們亦感到非常幸運能把Frequent Flyer註冊為我們的品牌名稱。

SP : 你看起來很自豪Frequent Flyer是個香港品牌。
PS:是的,我們為香港感到驕傲。從一個小漁村到全球金融和經濟中心,香港人用有限的資源來應對所有困難。為追求幸福生活而努力工作,我們不怕困難,就像飛機一樣總會  “在降落後必會再起飛”,這令人非常鼓舞。

Keep up with the latest on INSTAGRAM from Frequent Flyer!

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SP : 這次與KA WA KEY的合作,是你第一次跟時尚品牌合作嗎?
PS:無錯,這次合作是透過我們的共同朋友Nick介紹。KA WA KEY的其中一位始創人是香港人,他們在服裝領域上非常成功,而我們則專注於包袋行業。我們這次的合作非常順利和迅速,雙方都很明白大家需要什麼,我們完全互相信任。我覺得這次的聯成系列,非常棒!

SP : Key可以分享一下這次合作嗎?
KWK:今季我們與Frequent Flyer的合作,我們專門設計了一系列不同面料和印花的袋。因為我們希望這個Cross-over系列和我們的秋冬19系列有著相同的氛圍,所以兩邊的靈感其實都是相同的。不過袋子就用上了一些環保皮草去造出又柔軟、又蓬鬆的感覺,加上我們原創的手繪印花。

SP : 既然如此,不如談談你最新的秋冬19系列吧,今季是從那得到啟發的呢?
KWK:我們的2019的秋冬系列叫“Cowboy Who Cried Wasabi Tears”,哈哈,聽上去很趣怪吧。這個想法是從我們在Woolmark半準決賽時的膠囊系列中萌生出來的。系列以牛仔和西裝,加入KA WA KEY的感性和想像力而成,並在設計中實現性感和色情的想法。

SP : 講下Frequent Flyer這個品牌的風格吧。任何我們在相片中看不到的事情。他們是很功能性的嗎?有很強風格的一個品牌?

SP :當你旅行時,你必須攜帶些什麼?

SP : Patrick會否繼續嘗試不同的合作呢?你希望與那些人合作呢?
PS: 絕對會。 Frequent Flyer非常鼓勵人與人之間應有更多的互動和文化交流。透過合作大家不但可以從產品中看到多樣的工藝和設計,還可以了解到品牌背後的故事、國家文化和背景,這些交流都是非常有趣和有意義。我們相信透過合作會產生不同的化學作用。


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SP : 一個好的旅行包應該是怎樣的?
KWK:要有實用性、耐用性和外觀,而我們KA WA KEY x Frequent Flyer的箱包全部都有齊這些功能,所以從現在開始我們將以KA WA KEY x Frequent Flyer風格旅行! 

SP : 我注意到KA WA KEY在今季脫下面具了。這是代表現在的自信嗎?還是KA WA KEY的個性將會有些改變?

SP : 如果街頭服裝沒有流行起來,那你今季的作品會受繼續受到街頭服裝的影響嗎?

SP : 那些 Hip Hop的藝人有穿過你的衣服?
KWK:Lil Yachty、Ghetts和GASHi等等。

SP : 是什麼讓香港成為一個值得驕傲的城市?
PS: 我認為人們擁有的智慧和樂觀,城市永遠不會停止變化。 你可以感受到它,它是多麼的動態! 有時因為一些政治問題而感到悲傷,但你可以感覺到這個城市繼續不斷改革和發展。 就像孩子從錯誤和學習中成長,我為此感到驕傲。

SP : 你們將會有甚麼新計劃?

KWK:我們非常興奮將於6月回到紐約參加NYFW男裝展,展示我們的SS20系列。所以如果大家在紐約的話過來看我們的發佈吧!在紐約之後,我們將返回倫敦,然後再去巴黎。在設計方面,我們將呈現一些KA WA KEY的性感和柔和的陽剛之氣。期待吧!


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